I'll be back later in the week with selections for all 15 Breeders' Cup races, but here are a few horses that could be live at a price. As we all know, this has not been the strongest year of racing, so I'm expecting the tote board to light up at Churchill this weekend. The trick is finding the right ones. Let me know your thoughts.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Dayatthespa (12-1)--She is a lightly-raced daughter of City Zip with only two starts, but she's tactical and could carve out a good trip under Ramon Dominguez. Comes in fresh and with the top Bris Speed Figure at the distance, which came in the one-mile Natalma. Go back and watch that race; she tracked beautifully, took over in the stretch, opened up distance on the field, and was only caught late by Northern Passion, who received a perfect rail-skimming ride from Woodbine's leading rider. Dayatthespa was two lengths ahead of Stephanie's Kitten, who came back to win the Alcibiades. Chad Brown is having a good year.
Northern Passion (12-1)--If I like Dayatthespa I have to like this filly. I really like Grace Hall in here and she will probably be my top selection, but Northern Passion's run in the Natalma was nothing short of spectacular when coming from the back of the field to run down Dayatthespa, so she will be included in my exotics. Obviously, the big question is whether she will have the same kind of late kick on dirt, but the fact that Mark Casse entered her here instead of the Juvenile Fillies Turf is a sign that she will. The extra distance should help her and she is also fresh. Churchill works haven't been sparkling, but at least she has two works over the track. This is a deep field but I think she is worth using for a piece.
Force Freeze (12-1) and Apriority (30-1)--Euroears should be tough but I don't really like any of the other favorites, so there I think there is a chance for at least one big price to hit the board. Force Freeze spent most of the year racing in Dubai on synthetics without a win, but has really done well since coming back here for Peter Walden. He crushed a good field in the Teddy Drone at Monmouth and was a game second in the Vosburgh, also against a stellar field. He likes to sit just off the pace, and there should be plenty of speed for him to follow. Had a razor sharp work at Monmouth last Saturday.
Apriority is the longest shot on the board, and call me crazy but I think he has a chance to win. He is parked next to his stabelmate, Big Drama, who won this race a year ago. I respect Big Drama but I just don't think he is coming into this race the right way; with only two starts and missing the Vosburgh. He hasn't looked overly impressive at Churchill either. Apriority has done nothing to warrant serious backing based on his last two starts, but David Fawkes didn't care for the ride in the Vanderbilt when fourth and he was taken out of the Vosburgh (along with Euroears) when they played bumper cars early in that race. I'm drawing a line through it. Earlier in the year Apriority was spectacular when romping in an optional claimer at Gulfstream and ran very good seconds in the grade I Carter and grade II Churchill Downs Stakes at seven furlongs. If there is going to be a closer running down the speed here, I think it might be him. Just a hunch.
Dean's Kitten (10-1)--It's hard to see a scenario where he would beat all four of the Europeans, but I think there is a way for him to get a piece. He's a horse that has been steadily improving, with a stakes win earlier this year on turf and two grade I placings in his most recent efforts. He gave Cape Blanco all he could handle in the Turf Classic. He likes to track the leaders and if there is not a lot of pace in here he could e a factor when they turn for home. Not expecting a win, but he's the top U. S. horse in my opinion.
Courageous Cat (8-1) and Zoffany (20-1)--Courageous Cat certainly is not going to be a huge price (I'm hoping he'll stay around 8-1), but if anyone is going to dethrone Goldikova I give him the best chance. She beat him by a half-length back in 2009, and is finally back to that top form after injuries have hampered him over the last two years. This horse has been sharp ever since making his return this summer, and had it not been for a premature move in the Woodbine Mile he would be undefeated in three starts. He should get a good stalking trip and be right in the mix turning for home. Will he be able to hold off Goldikova?
Zoffany is one of Europe's top milers, but will be dismissed because of the egg he laid in the Shadwell Turf Mile. I'm not exactly sure what happened in his U. S. debut, maybe it was first-time Lasix or he didn't care for the firm turf. But class wise, this horse is right up there with anyone, as he was beaten less than a length by Frankel earlier in the year and was a group I winner as a juvenile. I'm not sure if his form has fallen off but Aidan' Obrien is too good not to take a chance on.
Strong Suit (10-1) is also a Euro shipper I'll probably use in exotics. Zoffany has finished ahead of him a couple times but he seems to be in better form right now, and adds Lasix for the first time.